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“Madam, this is also a gift from the High Priest, Gunner.”
Ian came in bringing in a bunch of boxes. Elisha thanked him, but didn’t even open the box.
“Shall I open it?”
“Please do. I need to know what it is and send it back.”
Ian nodded and inspected the box.
“Ah, this is the plate that Saint Euria used 30 years ago, it’s quite costly.”
“Aye, he still can’t get it together and read the room—an object from a saint?”
Lucerne clicked his tongue in absurdist scorn. [t1v: he’s saying the gift is in bad taste since Merha sold off possessions and the (fake) body of a prophet and got caught.] He glanced at Elisha sitting across from him. They were playing chess, sitting at a table made of black marble in the tea room.
Elisha nodded her head calmly.
“Gunner is very quick to respond. Umm, should this be considered business ethics?”
When the couple called Gunner to this tea room, they said: if Merha is deposed, do not forget our grace.
In one day, the world turned upside down. There are only two high priests, Merha and Gunner, but currently, Merha was imprisoned.
Now, all the power of the temple was before him. Gunner only had to run for the papal candidacy tomorrow.
The conditions for the candidacy for Pope were simple. On a specified date, a person with a high enough rank would go directly to the temple and write their name down.
“It has nothing to do with his morality, but his anxiety. It’s hasty. You never know how the world will turn upside down.”
Elisha casually agreed as she knocked Lucerne’s bishop off the board.
“If yesterday a man came back from the dead, who knows what will happen to the living today.”
And an incident was published in the evening newspaper that day. The strange events and scandals surrounding the temple still persisted.
[The ghosts of the girls who died because of the High Priest Gunner are wailing.]
[The amount of the relief fund for the poor that the High Priest Gunner had pocketed is… … .]
[The courageous anonymous informant reported more than 50 children died of starvation… … .]
A long time ago, Gunner embezzled money from the relief funds allocated to the temple’s orphanages.
The evening articles about the scandal had detailed evidence attached. The empire was once again turned upside down. It was as if the two candidates for the Pope were struck by lightning and everything collapsed just before the papal election.
“What the hell is going on here?”
Within the last couple of days, the atmosphere in the temple had deteriorated to almost terrifying levels.
The eyes of the entire empire were focused on and scrutinizing the temple.
Under normal circumstances, it would not have been possible to immediately arrest a member of the Cartier family, even if it was just a distant collateral relative. But now, even Merha, the direct son of the Duke, was already imprisoned by the temple heresy inquisition department.
“Let go of me— I am innocent! I won’t let you get away with this!”
Gunner was immediately apprehended at his private residence in the temple as he screamed like that. Coincidentally, his proclamations were a direct replica of Merha’s words when he was arrested.
At that time, Marco was nervously pacing around the room.
‘Ah, Father. How much hardship are you going through right now?’
Although Merha raised his son with a forceful hand, he had always been a good guide, instructing Marco on what to do on the way. He couldn’t believe the surreal reality that his father was currently incarcerated.
‘How the hell did my father get imprisoned? We’re Cartiers. Even if my father committed a greater sin, how could it have been the case?’
He was on the verge of dying from outrage.
‘Fuck, are you going to lose the papal seat to some distinct minor cousin like Gunner, like this? Ah, I can’t believe this is happening!’
There was a knock on the door. Then, the door opened, and Arien came in.
“Are you alright?”
“How can I be alright? We are doomed now. What can we do without my father? If Gunner becomes the Pope, our contracts will be terminated, our businesses will fall apart and our cash cow will be butchered! Besides, since my father was imprisoned, my path to becoming the Head of the family will be blocked. The Lord does not tolerate failure.”
Arien smiled with satisfaction.
“I got my hands on it…. now Gunner will never become the Pope.”
“What are you talking about?”
“Did you forget? When Gunner embezzled the temple poor relief funds a few years ago. It was my father, the director of the Heretical Inquisitor Department, who investigated the case.”
“So what? Isn’t he retired?”
“Ugh–Are you stupid? Evidence of that incident was still well kept in my father’s office. I exposed the case. Look here. Read the newspaper.”
“… … .”
Marco scanned the newspaper with trembling hands.
“If Gunner fails to become the Pope, there is no particular person who will be nominated. Then the election of the Pope will be postponed. Now the current Pope will be re-elected for a second term for several years. In the next few years leading up to the next papal election, we just need to get back on track, gain momentum and reinstate Father’s standing. The Lord will support us too.”
Arien grinned. She believed that she had saved her family.
However, Marco’s expression was strange. He looked at Arien, pale as a corpse.
“You—you, what have you done?”
“… … yes?”
“At that time, your father took care of Gunner and had him acquitted at the request of the Head.”
“… … .”
“Did you forget? Now, if this case is to be re-investigated did you forget who will be involved? You really don’t know? You… … .”
Arien opened her eyes wide as she listened to him.
“You implicated the Lord in this case.”
No! This can’t be.
Arien’s eyes clouded over.
“I just… … .”
“You’ve cut off our lifeline. Don’t you know the Duke’s disposition?”
“… … .”
“You’ve wasted all of father-in-law’s endeavors in vain. At the behest of Gaju’s orders your father’s accomplisment had earned his praise—and now you’ve negated it? What do you think will happen to us if we contradict the Lord’s commands?”
Marco’s irate shouting grew louder and louder.
“What have you done, Arien! Damn it!”
Boom! He banged on the desk. Arien, who became pale, took a step back.
‘This… … . cannot be.’